By John Celock
Ohio’s state treasurer has dropped his bid for the U.S. Senate, ending the chances of a rematch from the 2012 race.
Treasurer Josh Mandel, the GOP Senate frontrunner, announced Friday that he was dropping his bid, citing a need to concentrate on his wife’s health. Mandel, who was the 2012 Repubiican U.S. Senate nominee, was seeking a rematch against U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D).
“After recent discussions with our family and healthcare professionals, it has become clear to us that it’s no longer possible for me to be away from home and on the campaign trail for the time needed to run a U.S. Senate race,” Mandel said in a letter to supporters released Friday.
Mandel did not disclose the health issue facing his wife, Ilana, but said it was recently diagnosed.
Mandel’s decision shakes up Ohio’s U.S. Senate race, leaving little known investment banker Mike Gibbons, who has put several million dollars into his campaign as the only Republican in the race to face Brown. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor (R) has said that she will continue in her gubernatorial campaign, rather than change to the U.S. Senate race, and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R), is also considering staying put in the gubernatorial race. Taylor and Renacci are facing off against GOP frontrunner, Attorne General Mike DeWine, in the gubernatorial race to succeed term limited Gov. John Kasich (R). Kasich has indicated he is not going to challenge Brown.
Mandel, 39, had been the most heavily backed GOP challenger to a Democratic senator in his 2012 race against Brown. Despite the financial backing, Mandel faced a series of stumbles in the 2012 race, including an ongoing debate with Brown over his hiring practices in the treasurer’s office and repeated attempts to decline Brown requests to release the resumes of his appointees. During the race, Mandel receive the most “pants on fire” classifications from Politifax for comments he made.
Mandel’s decision to leave the Senate race puts a halt on what had been his metoric rise in Ohio politics. Mandel’s political career started when he was elected to the Lyndhurst city council in 2003, at the age of 26. A Marine reservist who served in Iraq, Mandel had served two terms as student body president at Ohio State University.
Mandel was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2006, serving two terms in the Legislature. Mandel was elected state treasurer in 2010 and kicked off his first Senate run shortly after taking office in January 2011. He has been viewed as a likely Brown 2018 challenger since conceding the 2012 election.
Mandel was reelected to the treasurer’s office in 2014 following a concentrated challenge by Ohio Democrats to defeat him. Mandel is term limited as state treasurer this year.
Mandel has indicated that he’ll complete the final year on his term as treasurer and has not indicated any career plans after he leaves office in a year.